iPad Pro Review Roundup: Impressive Hardware Held Back by iOS Limitations

John Vorhees, reviewing the new iPad Pro:

The initial reviews of Apple’s new iPad Pros are out. There is a general consensus that the hardware is impressive, but many reviewers conclude that limitations of iOS are holding the device back. Here are highlights from some of the reviews:


In terms of day-to-day work, some reviewers found that accomplishing particular tasks on an iPad Pro was more difficult than on a Mac:

Scott Stein, writing for Cnet:

For me, the whole experience and new ease of charging now makes the Pencil more likely for me to use, instead of ignore. It feels like a part of the iPad, now.

Editing, though? That’s another story. I use a trackpad to edit. Apple allows a virtual trackpad in iOS 12 using the onscreen software keyboard, but there isn’t an option for the physical keyboard.

Geoffrey Fowler, writing for the Washington Post:

While iOS 12 has a few keyboard shortcuts that help zip between apps, what I was missing was a degree of information density. Everyone has a different way of working, but sometimes on a Mac I’ll have five windows open at once, passively monitoring messages, email, Slack, Twitter and music. On the iPad, I had to keep flipping through apps in an attempt to stay tuned in. Some iPad apps don’t even show you the time and battery level along the top edge.


Although reviewers were impressed with the new iPad Pro’s hardware, many were frustrated by iOS. Patel concludes that:

Apple’s approach to iOS is holding that hardware back in serious and meaningful ways, and while USB-C makes life with this new iPad Pro slightly easier, it still has the same basic capabilities and limitations of last year’s iPad Pro.

Cnet’s Stein has a similar take:

But the iPad Pro just isn’t flexible enough, yet. The browser is not the same as a desktop-level experience, which can make it hard to work with web tools. No trackpad on the optional keyboard and no support for mice makes text editing cumbersome. Furthermore, iOS hasn’t changed enough. It’s way too much like an evolution of the iPhone, instead of a fully evolved computer desktop. And the current crop of available apps don’t yet exploit this awesome new hardware.

Although opinions differ on whether the iPad Pro can replace a Mac, it’s clear that the hardware has advanced to the point where it exceeds many of the laptops in Apple’s line. As Federico and I discuss on today’s episode of AppStories, the next year and iOS 13, in particular, will be critically important in justifying the ‘pro’ in the ‘iPad Pro.’ In the coming weeks, we’ll have in-depth coverage of the new iPad Pro on MacStories, so stay tuned.